Many of us squander our 20’s making a mess of our lives, then spend our 30’s cleaning it up.
With age comes maturity and with maturity, an inevitable re-setting of our moral compass. We learn to value those things we took for granted—love, trust, family. We become homesick, longing not only for the comfort of home, but for the values and relationships we’d left behind.
The Return of the Prodigal Son: A Story of Homecoming, by Henri J. M. Nouwen, is a spiritual adventure story. A chance encounter with a poster depicting a detail of Rembrandt’s The Return of the Prodigal Son set in motion a chain of events that enabled Nouwen to redefine and claim his vocation late in his life. In this book, which inter-weaves elements of art history, memoir, Midrash, and self-help, Nouwen brings the parable to life with empathic analyses of each character. Nouwen’s absorption in the story (and the painting) is so complete that the father’s challenge to love the son, and the son’s challenge to receive that love, become Nouwen’s own. And Nouwen’s writing is so clear and his tone is so appealingly frank and humble that readers–no matter how far from home–will find hope for themselves in the prodigal peace Nouwen ultimately achieves. –Michael Joseph Gross
The beloved spiritual writer meditates on the parable of the prodigal son’s return–a powerful drama of fatherhood, filial duty, rivalry, and anger between brothers -and its enduring lessons for Christianity.
Parable and painting are inviting us in, calling us to enter and participate as one of the characters. Choosing to be part of the story will allow you to become conscious of new connections in our own personal life journey, and receive the necessary healing to go into a deeper level of loving God, ourselves and others. Something new will be born in all of us, different for each one.
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